The December issue of Guitar Player features Fender artist Dweezil Zappa on its cover and a very lengthy and enjoyable Q&A with the prodigal son as he talks about the chops, gear and mindset that go into performing his dad’s music with his band Zappa Plays Zappa.
“The times when I play the most interesting things are when I disassociate from my most engrained guitar habits and don’t think like a lead guitar player,” says Zappa. “I need to listen to what’s happening everywhere else on the bandstand and respond to that instead of worrying about driving the boat. Oftentimes I’ll also put the focus on the rhythmic development of the solo. Frank was a true master at that. He was a drummer who became a guitar player, so the rhythmic element within his soloing is ridiculously strong. He didn’t necessarily have the chops to where every single note was executed perfectly, but the charm of his playing is that he’s going for things that he might not be able to execute. I love that reckless abandon he had.”
In follow up to 2008’s Zappa Plays Zappa, which won a Grammy for best rock instrumental performance, Dweezil released Return of the Son Of this summer. The majority of the 14-song live album was recorded during a three-night run at the Morse Theatre in Chicago in 2008. Check it out here.
Zappa also pays tribute to his father with his new custom Stratocaster, seen on page 18 of the December GP. The guitar has a relic sunburst finish, but what might be mistaken at first glance for substantial wear on the lower bout is actually a likeness of Frank himself peering from the guitar’s body.
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